Friday, May 16, 2008

Seize Your Work with Joy

Some people enjoy their jobs so much that, were it not for the need of money, they would gladly work for free.

Then there are the “normal” people who groan their way to work and can hardly wait for quitting time, weekends, and vacations.

Some researchers estimate that up to seventy percent of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs, and that at least twenty-five percent are downright miserable. The causes are many. Arrogant bosses and scheming coworkers. Too many assignments divided among too few people. Unexpected overtimes and changes. The stress of tight schedules. Career fields that don’t suit a worker’s temperament or talents.

Other reasons for hating a job are self-inflicted. There are people who load their schedules to bursting and then wonder why they always feel rushed. There are people whose attitudes are all wrong: they think they never should have to do anything they don’t enjoy (not even the maintenance aspects of what is otherwise a dream job), or they feel too important to start at the bottom. And there are people who hate work on principle, having somewhere picked up the idea that it is a curse.

It isn't. Work was a big part of human life long before the Fall (see Gen. 2:15). The curse that now afflicts our work is that results are no longer directly proportional to effort (Gen. 3:17-19). Even worse is the now-all-pervasive human selfishness that drives bosses who treat employees as machines, slackers who claim the inherent right to relax 24/7, and every negative attitude in between.

Christ will redeem even this, however--if we cooperate with Him. Even secular psychologists know that happiness and unhappiness are largely matters of choice. If we're determined to be miserable, not even a million-dollar-inheritance and a trip around the world can stop us. If we determine to follow Paul's command to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4, NIV); if we pray regularly, "Lord, help me to do my work for You and to enjoy it as much as my leisure time"; if we delight in the privilege of doing whatever we can for the One Who did so much for us; we may find that, before we know it, we have joined the ranks of those who would gladly work for free.

Because the Lord's "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt. 25:21, 23) is worth infinitely more than all the salary on earth.

Christian, up! and cease your sleeping;
Put aside your love of rest:
Look! a hurting world is weeping;
God calls you to meet the test.

Do not act upon your feelings;
Do not shun life's holy deeds;
Christ, the Lord of work and healings,
Calls you to meet others' needs.

Put aside the thoughts that tell you
You deserve a life of ease,
Sinful thoughts that would expel you
From the chance your God to please.

But do not begin in grudging,
Serving as a bitter slave,
One who only fears God's judging:
Seize with joy the work He gave!

Think on what He paid to save you--
Think on how He guides you still--
All you owe for all He gave you:
So delight to do His will!

If you truly know and love Him--
All He is, and all He gives--
He, with not a thing above Him,
He, Who made each thing that lives,

He, Who owes us but rejection--
Gratitude should flood your soul,
Driving out all glum dejection,
Swelling joy to fill your whole.

Never think that work and duty
Are but pains to grimly bear.
Let your Lord reveal their beauty,
Show you all He has to share.

So remember, each day's dawning,
Great things are in store for you,
In the Lord new gifts are spawning:
Joy, success, and blessings too.

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